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Why Use Level 2 to Manage a Trade?

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 2/21/2022 7 min read

The stock market is closed today in observance of Washington’s Birthday.

Most of us just call it Presidents Day. Does it matter whether it’s Presidents Day or Washington’s Birthday?

It might seem strange to split hairs over details, but it brings up an important lesson…

In trading, details matter.

For example, take my recent $460 win on Nitches, Inc. (OTCPK: NICH).

The details — specifically what I saw on Level 2 — kept me in the trade when I’d normally get out.

Reading Level 2 is one of the key skills you need to master. Especially for trading OTCs.

First, let me explain the NICH setup. Then I’ll explain how I used level 2 to manage the trade…

NICH: the Setup

On February 9, NICH was a multi-day runner with a multi-day breakout…

NICH chart: 3-month, multi-day breakout (Source: StocksToTrade.com)

As you can see, NICH ran for three days in January before consolidating for five days. Then it spiked again, hitting a high of 66.7 cents per share on February 7.

Now check out the multi-day chart showing the breakout level at 66.7 cents per share…

NICH chart: 1/26/22–2/9/22, multi-day runner, multi-day breakout (Source: StocksToTrade.com)

The breakout level was key to how I used Level 2 to manage the trade. Keep it in mind as you study the February 9 intraday chart with my trade entries and exit…

NICH chart: 2/9/2022, multi-day breakout, using Level 2 to manage a trade (Source: StocksToTrade.com)

As you can see, I bought the dip off the morning spike. It’s one of my standard setups when I think a stock can keep running. Here’s my entry comment…

02/09 9:40:25 AM — Bought 6500 shares $NICH at 0.7 — Partial fill on this big spiker breaking out of recent range, small position due to less liquidity and it’s over-extended but let’s see how far this can go, cut losses if no further spiking.

I would have loved to get this at a lower price. But it was moving fast and I didn’t want to chase so I bought the dip. Then I adapted based on what I saw on Level 2…

How to Use Level 2 Data to Manage a Position

diluted shares conclusion
© Millionaire Media, LLC

First, I added to my position even though my entry comment said cut losses if no further spiking.”

Then, I held it for another 30 minutes. If you follow my trades you know that I have the patience of a gnat. Holding an overextended penny stock for 30 minutes isn’t my normal MO.

Remember, the multiday breakout was at 66.7 cents. I added to my position at 66 cents. That got my average down to roughly 68 cents per share — more in line with where I wish I’d got into the trade in the first place.

Why did I do it?

When it dipped a little below 66 cents on light volume, I didn’t think it was bad. I actually tried to get shares below 66 cents. And when it came right back, it held the multi-day breakout level.

But what really gave me confidence was a big bidder.

Level 2 showed a 63K share bidder at 66 cents per share. The bidder first showed up at 66 cents, then 67, 68, and as high as 69.5 cents — driving up the price.

NICH Trade Thesis

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My original thesis was that NICH could get to the high .70s or .80s. At best, I thought it might get to 90 cents a share when it was spiking and eating through the ask. I recognized it as one of the biggest recent runners and thought “let’s see how far this can go…” 

The daily volume was less than a million, so that 63K bidder was a big order. If somebody wants to buy it that badly, they’re usually willing to pay a little more. I wanted the bidder to keep pushing it up.

So I watched, hoping it would break out over the morning high. At first it headed in the right direction. But when it  got to 71 or 72 cents, there was a wall of sellers.

That’s when I realized it wasn’t likely to get past the high of day. So I got out for a small win. It didn’t meet my goals, but I played the action instead of holding and hoping.

If there hadn’t been a 63K bidder, I would’ve cut it and lost $100 or $200. So one indicator, which to me was a strong indicator in the form of a big buyer, gave me the patience to hold.

That’s a good lesson but there’s more to it. Let’s flip the script…

What About Big Sellers?

limit order vs stop order
© Millionaire Media, LLC

What if there had been a 63K seller near the open? I would’ve gotten out almost immediately. A big seller would block any potential for a big spike. I used the 63K bidder as a crutch to give me more time and patience.

But if there was a big seller it wouldn’t be worth the risk. Why? Because the stock was up from six cents in a couple of weeks. That’s a big move and it got overextended.

I used all the indicators and my experience. My first entry wasn’t ideal but my second entry was right at the key multi-day breakout. And I got help from a mysterious big buyer who turned out to be wrong.

My NICH trade is only one example of how I use Level 2 to manage a trade. There are nuances that come with experience.

Speaking of experience…

On February 22 at 8 PM ET, I’m sitting down with trading legend Chuck Hughes. Chuck has finally agreed to share the power of his “snowballing” strategy on camera. It has nothing to do with penny stocks, but I’m super excited.

In this market, it’s good to learn new strategies…

Click here to register for the FREE “7-Day Snowball Trading Summit”

See you there.

Want more in-depth trade reviews featuring details like why it’s important to use Level 2? Comment below, I love to hear from all my readers!

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Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (888) 878-3621 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”